Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Breaking Up Is Easy to Do

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Breaking Up Is Easy to Do

Article excerpt

Byline: VICTOR LEWIS-SMITH

Should I Worry About..? Mobile Phones BBC1

MY friends in MI6 have sent me leaked results of a top-secret survey conducted by the United Nations last month, asking the following question: Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?

Apparently, the survey was a total failure, and the results have been banned from ever being released, but thanks to my mole, I can exclusively reveal the responses that came in from around the world.

In North Korea they didn't know what "food" meant. In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant. In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant. In the Middle East they didn't know what "solutions" meant. In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.

And in the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.

Unsuccessful though that survey was, it remains a model of objective scientific enquiry, compared with the research currently being carried out by Richard Hammond. In his new eight-part series he proposes to uncover the truth about such vexed consumer issues as the contents of the humble sausage and the purity of tap water, but judging from Should I Worry About..? Mobile Phones, he's more likely to add to the public's confusion than to resolve its doubts.

"Could it be that the mobile phone is hurting my brain?" he began last night, a question so idiotic that it not only hurt my brain, but was also redundant, as a moment's logical reflection-will surely prove. The answer is no, because anyone who willingly spends hours each day shouting into these unreliable and antisocial devices is, by definition, completely and utterly brainless to begin with, so mercifully there's nothing to get hurt.

Despite clutching the governmentcommissioned Stewart Report (which spent years investigating the subject and concluded that mobiles are not a serious health hazard), Hammond felt that he could do better, and that his fatuous question was still worth posing.

So with the characteristic mixture of arrogance and ignorance for which popular TV investigations are justly famous, he set off to conduct experiments at BBC Radio Oxford, a location chosen on the eminently sensible scientific basis that "mobiles use radio waves" and "I used to work in local radio" ( intellectually, he still does). Of course, the main reason the station had been chosen was that it provided a limitless supply of free and willing participantsfor his absurd "studies"but as he attempted to see if he could boil an egg by surrounding it with mobile phones for 10 minutes (he couldn't), I wondered if perhaps he'd thought that the proximity of one of the world's great universities might also add gravitas to what he was doing. …

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